Some say, election in India is a festival of democracy. Those who coined the phrase are simply imaginative or that they are living in a dream. By no means, it is a festival although one likes to paint as such. Elections are about sloganeering and empty promises meant to trap gullible voters, violence resulting in even deaths, squandering of black money to buy votes and vociferous supporters of candidates getting hurt and enmities earned even within family members. Of course, a candidate in Kshetrigao was shot at while the father of a candidate in Andro constituency was maimed by unidentified gunmen. The rest of the victims are supporters of candidates.
On the other hand, distribution of money to catch voters has become a tradition while the rates vary. Some say, take the money but vote for the candidate you like. It is actually a misnomer as most people feel guilty in not voting for the candidate who had given and most people are plain superstitious, while the young may not care a whit. One may see that, more than half of the candidates are Crorepatis according to the affidavits submitted by them. But, it is a known fact they are only showing the white money in hand and certainly not the black money hoarded to finance the elections.
The grapevine says, the rates this time would range from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000. So much for the sanctity of elections and democracy. According to the ADR data, at least 21 per cent of the 173 candidates in fray for the first phase and around 17 per cent of the 92 candidates in fray for the second phase have declared criminal cases. The BJP has fielded the most number of candidates with criminal cases followed by the JD(U).
Meanwhile, among the candidates in the second phase, 40 per cent of the candidates fielded by JD(U), 22 per cent of the candidates of the Congress, 18 per cent from the NPP and nine per cent from the BJP have declared criminal cases against them.
On Monday, over 20 lakh voters will decide the fate of 173 candidates who are in the fray from the 38 constituencies going to polls in phase 1 of the Manipur assembly election 2022. The voting for 22 seats will take place in the second phase on March 5 while the counting of votes will be held on March 10. The 38 seats are spread across five districts. Of these, 29 are in valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal West and Bishnupur while nine seats are spread across Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Pherzawl.
The Election Commission has said that a total of 2,959 polling stations will be set up for the 60 assembly constituencies. The polling will take place between 7am and 6pm Monday. Earlier, voting for phase-1 was slated for February 27 but it was later postponed by a day as the Election Commission reviewed the poll preparedness. There are over 20 lakh voters in the state including 10.49 lakh females and 9.58 lakh males.
The 38 assembly constituencies going to polls in first phase are Kshetrigao, Thongju, Andro, Lamlai, Thangmeiband, Khundrakpam, Heingang, Khurai, Keirao, Sagolband, Saikot, Imphal, Keisamthong, Wangkhei, Sekmai, Lamsang, Konthoujam, Langthabal, Naoriya Pakhanglakpa, Wangoi, Mayang, Nambol, Moirang, Thanga, Kumbi, Saikul, Kangpokpi, Yaiskul, Singjamei, Saitu, Tipaimukh, Patsoi, Thanlon, Uripok, Henglep, Churachandpur, Singhat, Bishenpur and Oinam. Of these nine are reserved for STs – Saikot, Sekmai, Saikul, Saitu, Tipaimukh, Thanlon, Henglep, Churachandpur, Singhat. These constituencies going to polls in the first phase are mostly in Kuki-Chin-Mizo areas, where groups under SoO have openly vouched for BJP candidates. BJP can deny all the way about having a nexus with the Kuki militants, but no one believes it. Of course, it is also putting up weak candidates in NPF controlled constituencies.
First published:27 Feb 2022, 6:32 pm
manipur pollsManipur Assembly elections 2022sloganeeringfestival of democracy